Two former members of an elite Russian special forces unit have been charged with two contract killings, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported Thursday.
Their affiliation to security services emerged after Russia’s Investigative Committee announced it had detained three men in connection with contract killings that were carried out in 2008 and 2012 in Moscow. They are suspected of gunning down a businessman and his driver in central Moscow in 2008 as well as beating a local resident to death.
The two suspects served in the Federal Security Service’s (FSB) elite Alpha unit, an unnamed law enforcement source told RIA Novosti. The source said they allegedly engaged in criminal activities after leaving the service.
Investigators accuse one of the three suspects of forming a criminal group and committing the two murders with at least two accomplices in Moscow. All three face murder charges, which carry a sentence of between eight years in prison and life.
One of the accomplices gave incriminating evidence against the other potential suspects, the Investigative Committee said.
The suspects — identified by their last names Chukayev, Chukanov and Voskresensky — have been placed in pre-trial detention until Feb. 25, a Moscow court spokeswoman told Interfax.
A video of a raid of their apartments showed investigators seizing a cache of weapons, including grenades, ammo and a grenade launcher.